Trail Realignments – Nearing Completion
Originally, the “trails” on the Stratton property were made by horses wandering around and making their own paths over what eventually became the Stratton Open Space. Many of those paths were through watercourses which eventually became deep ruts, washed out and became unsustainable.
After public input, in 2016 the Parks Department published the Stratton Open Space Management.
In 2018 the Stratton Open Space was included in the North Cheyenne Cañon Master and Management Plan.
Beginning in 2019, Parks Department staff has been implementing plans to change the trail alignments and close off rogue / social trails.
The first major realignment project was the Chutes Mountain Bike Downhill. This was completed by a contractor (Flow Ride) in October 2019.
City Parks has hired a total of four (4) contractors to construct re-aligned trails in Stratton Open Space. The contractors are: Flow Ride, Single Track, Rocky Mountain Field Institute, and Volunteers of Colorado.
Many of the trails have been designed to force mountain bikers to reduce speed (boulders and tight turns) in order to accommodate hikers. Yet, other trails have been designed to enhance the downhill mountain biking challenges.
Turned up soil on the old trails
The trail contractors turned up the old trails into piles of dirt. The term they use to describe the former trails is “de-compacted.”
The plan is — to leave the de-compacted areas like this for short term – so as to discourage short-cutting by trail users. These areas will be restored. Seeds will gradually blow in and re-vegetate the areas. Also, the Parks Department plans to start with re-seeding and plantings. The intent is to restore these areas. The exact time frame is undetermined.
New trail signs are coming soon. After much stakeholder input and discussion, in May 2020 the Parks Department submitted a final version of the TOPS Open Space Sign Guidelines.
As a result, Stratton Open Space will have soon have: (1) new trailhead entrance “Welcome” signs; (2) new 3-panel informational kiosk signs; (3) four-sided way finding post signs at primary trail locations; and, (4) two-sided Carsonite signs.
To see what the signs will look like, view pages 24-28 of these final guidelines.
Work has already begun on the Welcome sign at the La Veta Trailhead. The rest is coming this Spring. The first Open Space kiosks will be installed at Blodgett Open Space . . . with kiosks to follow soon after at Stratton’s trailheads (Ridgeway and La Veta).
Donor Sign at Ridgeway Trailhead
Stratton Open Space was not only the first TOPS open space, but it is also unique because citizens banded together to raise the money to purchase the property in the first place.
The people who contributed money to this great effort are recognized on a sign listing their names. The sign stood at the Ridgeway Trailhead for 20 years – but in that time it gradually succumbed to the elements. However, that sign is being replaced and will soon reappear near its former location. As you look at the names on the donor sign, realize that these are only the people who contributed more than $500. Many, many more people helped to save the property.
Flooding of the Ridgeway meadow
Recently Colorado Springs Utilities drained its lower reservoir (South Suburban) for a periodic safety inspection.
While Springs Utilities transferred as much water as possible to other reservoirs it had to drain the remainder which resulted in the flooding seen in the meadow.
A parks trail specialist is completing installation of culverts and trail reroutes to mitigate future water flow in the meadow.
Dog Poop Metrics
Poop bag dispensers were installed at the trailheads. Also, trash cans have been installed at the trailheads near the South Suburban reservoir.
According to collection surveys both before vs. after installation, the new dispensers and new trashcans have reduced dog poop on the trails by 40%.
Restrooms at La Veta Trailhead
Open Space restrooms usually close in October and re-open in May. But due to the COVID-19 restrictions the La Veta restrooms were not opened last summer.
But, the Park Ranger for Stratton Open Space advises that this restrooms will again be open during the 2021 season.
After-Hours Security at Trailheads
For many years the Friends of Stratton Open Space has paid for after-hours security
at the Ridgeway and La Veta trailhead parking areas. The service has been provided by Broadmoor Information & Security. Generally the service has been provided on an on-call basis. Generally the calls to B.I.S. have been in response to partying, noise and vandalism complaints. The B.I.S. response has been very effective.
The Friends of Stratton Open Space are pleased to announce that the City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department has now assumed the responsibility of paying B.I.S.
Park Ranger for Stratton Open Space is Josh Joyner
Josh Joyner is the Park Ranger who is the park department’s “point of contact” for the Stratton Open Space. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his direct cell phone number is 719-645-3653.
Potential Upcoming Volunteer Work Projects
Gradual removal of unused remnants of barbed wire fence posts.
The ranger is investigating ways to alleviate biker / dog / hiker “traffic congestion” at the reservoir double entrance gate. One possibility would be to simply establish another gate a short distance away from the intersection.
The Friends of Stratton Open Space will be supporting and participating in work sessions this season. The project sessions will be generally be scheduled for week day afternoons / evenings and Saturday mornings.
The projects will include such things as:
— rogue trail closures,
— trail restoration,
— invasive oxious weed removal
— fence removal
— trail corridor clearing
— education outreach table events
— possibly mitigating some of the chronic muddy areas along trails
— trash pick up
The work days will be COVID-19 guideline compliant, i.e. limited work party size; social distancing and mask wearing.